Carmen Braden is an emerging composer from the Canadian sub-Arctic. Her music/ sound company Black Ice Sound is based in her hometown of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Hailed as “a talented, bold musician” (Up Here Magazine 2015), Carmen is a life-long Northerner whose music has been described as “drop-dead gorgeous” (Ottawa Citizen 2014).
Carmen’s vocal, instrumental, and electroacoustic music is greatly tied to her soundscape. She draws from the environment by examining natural phenomena through sonic, visual, sensual and scientific ways of understanding. Her creative research has led her into deep study of ice on Great Slave Lake, as well as raven calls, bedrock, and different qualities of light. Carmen often collaborates with other mediums including dance, theatre, film, and story-telling.
Her music has been performed across Canada by the Elmer Isler Singers, the Gryphon Trio, the Land’s End Ensemble, GroundSwell and the Penderecki Quartet. Carmen’s works have been performed at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the National Arts Centre 2013 Northern Scene Festival,The Global Composition in Germany, the Shattering the Silence New Music Festival, and the Land’s End Emerging Composer Competition, the University of Calgary New Music Festival.
Carmen’s choral experience includes performing with the National Youth Choir (2012), the Yellowknife Choral Society, the Yellowknife Youth Choir, and university choirs at the University of Calgary, Acadia University and Pearson College. Her conducing experience includes the Pearson College Gospel Choir (2003-4), as well as co-conducting Yellowknife’s Aurora Chorealis (2011-13).
Carmen is passionate about creative education. She teaches individual students in Yellowknife, as well as contributing to music education in the North. Carmen was a pivotal member of the Gryphon Trio’s NWT Listen UP! project, which was a year-long program held in six NWT communities incorporating poetry, music composition, and performance. Carmen was a youth ambassador for Taking IT Global in 2012 and delivered art+identity workshops for youth in Yellowknife and Arviat, Nunavut. Carmen also delivers customized workshops on music education, composition and improvisation.
Carmen is currently vice-chair of the Canadian Association for Sound Ecology. Carmen’s academic study is supported by a SSHRC grant, and her creative work has been supported by the NWT Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Born in 1985 in Whitehorse, Yukon, Carmen grew up in Yellowknife and learned to love music with Bill Gilday and Ardith Dean. She earned the International Baccalaureate from Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific and continued to study under Michelle Hewitt. In 2009 Carmen received her Bachelor of Music in Composition from Acadia University where she studied with Derek Charke and Stephen Naylor. She received her Masters of Music in Composition from the University of Calgary in 2015, studying under Allan Gordon Bell, Laurie Radford and David Eagle.
Choral Compositions (For all scores, contact composer)
The Ice Season, 2015, SSAATB + 2 Violins, 2 Viola, 2 Violoncello + Electroacoustic track (25:00).
Solstice Shadows, 2014 SATB + piano (6:00). Premiered by the Whitehorse Community Choir.
Lake Skin, 2013, SSAATTBB + Soprano Solo (5:30). Premiered by the Elmer Iseler Singers.
La Terre Attend, 2012, SATB + Flute, Clarinet in B-flat, Violoncello (3:40). Premiered by Aurora Chorealis and Classics On Stage Yellowknife
A Creation Myth, 2010, 4 spoken voices (4:20).
Sparrows, 2009, SSAATB + Soprano Solo a cappella (3:20). YouTube: Aurora Chorealis, Carmen Braden, cond. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mPRuZyJmas
Selection of Instrumental Works
Parhelia, 2015, standard orchestra (6:10). Premiered by the University of Calgary Orchestra at the Forms of Sound New Music Festival.
Candle Ice, 2014, piano trio and electroacoustic track (10:00). Premiered by the Gryphon Trio at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.
The Bedrock Cycles, 2014, piano, cello, violin (6:00). Premiered by the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble in the Land’s End Emerging Composition Competition – Audience Choice Prize Performed at Shattering the Silence New Music Festival, Acadia University January 2015.
The Raven Conspiracy, 2013, string quartet (8:15). Premiered by the Penderecki Quartet, Yellowknife September 2013.
First Frost, 2013, piano, cello, violin (6:40). Premiered by the Gryphon Trio, Yellowknife January 2013.
The Mad Trapper of Rat River, 2013, piano, guitar, harmonica, drum kit, voice, soprano saxophone (25:00). Premiered by the Borderless Art Movement at the Atlin Arts and Music Festival July 2013.
Sedna, 2012, SSAA, B-flat clarinet and bass clarinet, flute, cello, percussion, electroacoustics (50:00). Premiered by the Borderless Art Movement Yellowknife March 2012
Winter Lullaby, 2010, soprano and 5-octave marimba (4:30). Premiered by Jennifer Humphries Micaleff, soprano, Linda Wang, marimba at the Forms of Sound New Music Festival 2014.
In a Garden Over Grand Pre, 2010, soprano and clarinet (4:00). Premiered by Wes Ferreira, clarinet, Helen Pridmore, soprano, Shattering the Silence New Music Festival 2010.
Song Cycle, 2009, mezzo-soprano and piano (10:00). Premiered by Megan Johnson, mezzo soprano, and Carmen Braden, piano, March 2009.